The Gravel Ride.  A cycling podcast

The Gravel Ride. A cycling podcast

Craig Dalton

The Gravel Ride is a cycling podcast where we discuss the people, places and products that define modern gravel cycling. We will be interviewing athletes, course designers and product designers who are influencing the sport. We will be providing information on where to ride, what to ride and how to stay stoked on gravel riding.

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This week I recount my recent trip to Girona, Spain with Trek Travel. Our knowledgeable guides took us on a 5 day adventure throughout the region exposing us to Girona’s plentiful and diverse gravel. As a bonus, we were able to connect with a number of local cycling brands contributing to Girona’s reputation as the hub of European cycling.

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Automated Transcription, please excuse the typos:

Girona Gravel Live

[00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello, and welcome to the gravel ride podcast, where we go deep on the sport of gravel cycling through in-depth interviews with product designers, event organizers and athletes. Who are pioneering the sport

I'm your host, Craig Dalton, a lifelong cyclist who discovered gravel cycling back in 2016 and made all the mistakes you don't need to make. I approach each episode as a beginner down, unlock all the knowledge you need to become a great gravel cyclist.

This week on the show, I'm releasing some recordings I did during the tractor on a gravel tour. I participated in, in November. It was a great trip. I encourage you to check it out on Trek's website and I appreciate Trek's support in getting the over there to have this wonderful experience.

With my friend. Was able to sit down with our guides as well as some other members of the Jarana cycling community. To give you a flavor for this wonderful cycling city. I hope you enjoy and let's dive right in

Day 1

[00:00:56] Craig Dalton: Right here we are, day one, Trek Gerona Gravel tour here in Gerona, Spain here in the hotel. Nord got set up on my Trek demo bike. Not the one you'd expect for these gravel trips, but it turns out the gravel roads here in Gerona are pretty smooth and you don't need the big wide tires that I typically ride at home.

So we're riding a 35 C Pirelli tire on these Damani bikes. The great thing was, Sent them over. My fit measurements had everything dialed, so it was just some quick adjustments Right before the ride. Today we did about 25 miles today as a shakeout ride. Riding along, essentially along the river, out and back on either side of the river, which a lot of fun.

We got into some single track. Super smooth. Not a lot of elevation today. That's gonna come tomorrow where I'm excited that we're riding off to the Mediterranean. So great first day. Great intro. The guides. Rafa and Mickey are awesome. Mickey's a local here in Jerron and Rafa's from London. Bringing a little bit of international flavor to the trip.

We've got a group of about six of us, so it's pretty easy to keep people together. I've got two friends from San Francisco along for the ride, so that is a joy and a pleasure. More later in the week, and I'll get some commentary, a little bit more specifics about the writing from Mickey Rafa along the way to to give you an idea about what to expect.

It's a five day experience here in the Jonah Gravel tour. They've got some other options I think, coming online next year, but super excited for the days to come as the mileage is gonna creep up, and I'm told the technicality is gonna creep up as well. So super excited for that. We'll see how these 35 C tires on the demos go, but I'm confident we've got the right equipment for the job.

Day 2

[00:02:50] Craig Dalton: Okay, so on day two of the Trek Gerona gravel tour today, we did about 60 miles of gravel, about 1800 feet of climbing on our way to the Mediterranean beach, the Mediterranean Ocean. We started in Gerona and followed the prominent river all the way to the east. Surprisingly, the whole ride, we were on gravel roads, beautiful gravel.

Started out getting outta town on some small paths right next to the river. Some real fun single track to wake you up and then onto some amazing roads through forests. There's a lot of forests here. We were told that the trees that were being planted there were for the paper industry. They were super beautiful tall trees and lined in rows, and we just weaved throughout them until 29 kilometers later.

We met the van, the Trek travel van, and our second guide Mickey, who had water refills and food and everything we needed for the second half of our ride out there to the coast where we went through orchards, basically this incredibly smooth gravel road. Very, very little car traffic. I think maybe we saw a few, maybe three vehicles out there the whole day, but super pleasant ride.

Relatively flat for 60 miles, only 1800 feet of climbing. We got to the ocean to meet Mickey in the van again. Had an amazing lunch and a few of us decided we were gonna jump into the. It wasn't exactly warm, but it wasn't unpleasant. It was so fun to kind of get off the gravel bike in the middle of your ride and go for a swim and play around.

And one of the riders, James, my friend from San Francisco, took a nap on the beach while we were in the water and we had to rouse him to get him back on the bike for our 45 kilometer return home. Adding up to, as I said, 60 miles and no idea why I'm converting miles to kilometers and vice versa.

Including them in the same sentences. But anyway, I'm a bit groggy from the ride. The legs are taken a little bit to get used to it, but it's been amazing. The town's been amazing. We, we spent sunset at, on the wall here in Jerome, next to the big church, and you can see the purities and the sun was setting right over the pys.

Pretty incredible Second day. Getting ready for the third day, which I guess is a little bit more technical. I'll get some of the guides on to describe some of the terrain, excuse me, that we're going through and we'll see how the legs hold up.

Day 3

[00:05:29] Craig Dalton: Day three of our Jer gravel cycling tour with track travel. Today was a little bit more technical, especially with the 35 Sea Tires. We got out into some rolling farm roads and definitely off into some single track and double track. That was pretty amazing, the first 30 K or so, rolling farm roads.

Just a little bit punchier than we've been experiencing. A little bit looser gravel in most cases. But nothing too technical on the. 30 K of the ride. We had this amazing stop at Ro Roca corba cycling, a new 17th century Chateau kind of building that's being converted into a cycling. Kind of lodge and Airbnb pretty amazing.

They took the kind of areas that used to house the cattle underneath the building and made them into kind of the bike room and a little cafe. It's a super like rustic arc, arc ceilings beautiful stonework on the grounds. This beautiful old building, it's being renovated by a couple professional cyclists, ones who's already retired, and one who's in the Women's Pro tour today.

So that was really special. Kind of get to tour that facility and definitely something. It's about 30 kilometers outside of. Jer. So kind of an interesting place to stay. You know, the ideal might be stay in Gerona for, you know, four or five days and then go out there for three or four days, or two or three days to just get a little bit of different starting point.

It's a little closer to closer to some of the climbs particularly for the roadies. So, you know, if you're interested in getting out and hitting some of those climbs and having a little less distance in your legs from Gerona, that's a good option. Once we left there, the riding got a little bit more technical through some farms.

Took a lot of single track. Some punchier climbs actually reminds me of what I recently experienced at, at big sugar in Arkansas. Kind of loose gravel, the sense definitely some loose gravel pushed the technical capabilities. Clearly. Track is the, has done a really good job of making roots that are gonna explore different areas of your gravel cycling ability again today.

Was definitely on the more technical side, particularly if you were a newer rider of which we had at least one in today's ride. And you know, you could. Some of them were, some of the dissents were definitely making them think, but everybody went through fabulously. We even got to stop at the property, which my one of the guides fathers owned, and I'll get him on to talk about that a little bit.

But it was great being able to reminisce with him and he learned to swim up there. His father owned a restaurants, a typical Catalan food restaurant in this really beautiful building, which was kind of cool to see. Then we rolled back into, I'm always looking at the GPS and amazed that, you know, we could be within seven kilometers of Jerome and still in these amazing forests and woods, riding gravel, basically all the way back into town.

So another great day out there. It's interesting how they've explored. The first day was kind of getting to know your bike a little bit. Second day was that long. Ride out to the beach. Not very technical. Beautiful, beautiful gravel roads today being more technical, and we'll see what the next two days have to bring us.

Day 4

[00:08:46] Craig Dalton: All right. Day four, Gerona gravel. Definitely woke up feeling a little tired, not gonna lie. Fourth day riding in a row with some big climbs. Yesterday. Got a massage yesterday afternoon, which was awesome and quite affordable here in Gerona, which was a bonus. Got up this morning, got the bikes ready. We got the route loaded up.

We were riding through the fields. Kesier de Las Selva known for the cork. It's cork production. So they actually, it was kind of interesting. They, the trees kind of about five feet kind of from the ground up. Five feet they chop and that's the cork that they used to make cork bottles, flooring, everything.

So that was super cool to see. We continued rolling through some dirt roads through there, through the mountain range of Lis gravis. Then we tackled a famous road climb called Santa Aea, known as the George hie Climb for Local. This was awesome. I mean, I know we're here to talk about gravel and the gravel was great that first half of the morning, but that road climb was spectacular as well.

I kind of felt like it was a bonus, obviously, like we signed up for a gravel trip, but to be able to do kind of a famous climb, road climb was amazing. It was great gradient, fantastic descent. Right at the bottom of it, we turned up another dirt road and had a a 12 K climb to lunch. Great climb kind of loose.

Actually more similar to riding I do at home than the first couple of days. So that was interesting. Got up to a church where Salvador Dolly was married, had some lunch, then we dropped down the kind of backside of that climb. But before we got to the bottom in Jer, we took another hard right and got into a trail system right above.

Rode some steep descents through and down back into town. Those steep descents were very much like mount ta. You know, maybe 12, 15% grade going down and loose. A lot of fun. I discovered by the time I got back to town that I managed to cut the sidewall of my. But fortunately the sealant held and it was all good for me to roll back into town.

We dropped a few people off and ended up going on an extended loop, a pretty vicious climb on the extended loop they call extended loops for the avid riders. My legs were screaming at me, but it was a, it was a lot of fun. We were kind of just, again, in that same area going up into the ELs Angels climb area.

Steep dirt climbs pretty loose. We grinded that climb for a while, but the descent was a hell of a lot of fun. Pretty gentle loose rock, but pretty easy to handle at speed. Fun. Coming back into the town the way that route did was a lot of fun. It really felt like you were kind of entering a village, not downtown gerona like we've done in some other, the the entrances back into town.

Anyway, another great day out there for day four. Super fun, super varied. The team has done a really good job of kind of making each day feel different and like many areas around the world, kind of directionally where you head outta town, the, the dirt and the gravel. Has just a different feel to it. So it's been fun to explore.

We've got one more day on the official tour, and then I've got an extra day here. So we're gonna do a sixth day of riding where I think we'll head back out to the Mediterranean Ocean. Cuz how, how cool is that?

Day 5

[00:12:17] Craig Dalton: All right. Day five of the Jarana. The gravel tour with truck travel, bit of a shorter day, as most of the clients were leaving today, it's the end of the official tour. So our guides took us on a really fun kind of single tracky tour through a different part of the surrounding area that we hadn't visited before.

Lots of fun. Just kind of a great community day where we got to interact with the other riders a bit, and the writing wasn't too challenging nor too long as the ideal schedule had you back by noon and getting checked out of the hotel. Fortunately, we don't have to leave today. So we decided at least a few of us who were staying on a couple extra days to go out and climb the LA angels.

Road climb again. We had such a good time. The day before on that climb, we thought it'd be fun to go back up. And we had some energy in our legs and a little bit of time in the afternoon to go tackle that. So we said goodbye to the other members of our tour group and our guides and headed off on a road loop.

It was great. We talked about the climb a bit the other day. Just a fun group. Growed climb we saw a bunch of pros climbing up at which was always fun got to the top crews back down and put another day behind us in the books

Day 6 and 7

[00:13:31] Craig Dalton: All right. Well, the official tour from track is over at day five. We had a couple extra days on our hands over in Gerona and you better believe we wanted to go out there and ride Mickey. One of our guides that you'll hear from later in this broadcast was nice enough to share.

Another route. Out to the coast for us. So we really enjoyed that ride out to the coast, just super satisfying to kind of hit the Mediterranean. I shouldn't come back. Over to Gerona, but he had us go over some great trails on the way out and then a really, really fun road climb. Just gradual great fun descent down into the Mediterranean. You got to the top and you could see the ocean just super satisfying.

We sat around in a cafe for gosh. Probably an hour and a half, just drinking some teas and coffees and having some snacks. We were having a great time, but we realized we needed to head back to Gerona. And Mickey's rude had us go through some similar type of terrain that we were on in our coastal roots, a few days back, those nice long flat undulating gravel trails that seemed to be pervasive in this area. So we're super appreciative of Mickey.

Sharing one of his favorite routes that he loves to do with his friends, with us. So we could get another big day. You know, on the bike. I'll move on to day seven. As I'm recording this after the fact day seven, we didn't have a bunch of time left. So we decided we were going to basically revisit the route from day one, some of that nice single track and double track along by the river, it was actually fun without the group with just two of us remaining on the bikes, the kind of rip the single track a little bit harder.

We were comfortable with the bikes. We'd been on them for seven days at that point. So really fun to just kind of rip the single track and nail it a little bit harder. Knowing that we could go as hard as we wanted because we had an overnight in Barcelona and then we were going to be on a plane saying a sad goodbye to Gerona.

Overall. It was a fantastic trip. Jarana is a very special community. There's a reason why so many cyclists flock there it's clear whether you're a gravel cyclist road cyclist, or even mountain biker that there's ample terrain every direction outside of Jarana. And then the town itself is just really special, special.

Between the old world, the old town roads and the city. City walls, the church walls. It was just a really great experience. Our guides from track were phenomenal and I wanted to introduce you to them. So I've recorded some tracks. That'll play immediately after this commentary. So you can get to know Mickey and Rafa, who were our guides throughout the week for track travel.

I also was able to capture a little bit of audio from a few different sources. We talked a little bit about Roca Corp, but cycling. Both the 17th century Villa that's being converted into a cycling Airbnb, as well as there's Roca, Corbus cycling clothing, which was founded by a gentleman by the name of a test who's happening to be opening his store this month in Jarana. So it was able to get him on the mic. I had Andrew from the Airbnb.

Cycling house. And then also Oscar from Castelli Castelli just opened up a flagship community store in Gerona that week we were there as well. We witnessed a number of group rides going out from the facility. So it was great to hear what Castelli's perspective was for opening that facility. And I was surprised to learn it had.

Had little to do with selling. Jerseys and clothing and bib shorts, as you would imagine, and everything to do with promoting the cycling community and creating yet another hub. In Jarana for cyclists. Which brings us back to why you should all go to Jarana. As i just mentioned it's a great place to go and i highly recommend it and i hope you enjoyed this overview of my experience there.

With that said let's jump right into those conversations

Rapha - Trek Travel Guide

[00:17:33] Craig Dalton: Okay, can I get your name and what you do with Trek?

[00:17:36] Rapha: My name is Rafael and I'm a second

[00:17:38] Craig Dalton: guide for Trek Travel. And

[00:17:40] Rapha: where are you from? Well that's a good question cuz originally from the Philippines grew up for most of my life, 20 years in London and now anywhere in Europe. So I'm a resident of France, but I gotta find a place to live , so.

[00:17:54] Craig Dalton: And how long have you been guiding for

truck

[00:17:56] Rapha: travel? This will be my fifth year now, guiding for truck.

[00:17:59] Craig Dalton: And what does that look like? Are you always based here in Jer or are you all over the place? We, we

[00:18:03] Rapha: sort of congregate here in the beginning of the year and then come back at the end of the year, but in between, we're all over

[00:18:09] Craig Dalton: Europe.

And are you leading, I know Trek Travel has got many, many road tours. Probably a lesser degree of gravel tours. Are you leading trips on the road and gravel

[00:18:21] Rapha: for now? Yeah, and we're, we're starting off gravel next year and so it's a mainly road for the beginning. Next year we're gonna bring in unpaved which is gonna be a whole gravel series.

So we have a whole unit of bikes just traveling throughout Europe, and it's gonna be exciting for next year. Yeah,

[00:18:37] Craig Dalton: it's exciting. I heard, I heard from the, the extended team that you're gonna really build out the gravel experiences for next year, which is great. I think if my experience in Jerome with the gravel tour is any indication there's gonna be a lot of magical trips across Europe, helping riders discover gravel all over the.

[00:18:56] Rapha: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I do a lot of the road tours and I'll see just a patch of undiscovered area and I'm thinking, Hey, where does that go? Or I'll be traveling along the hills and in between you're gonna see these gravel patches of fires and you just want to go and explore. And essentially that's what the guides that went into design these trips or, or want to do, they want to do that.

They want to find out those roads. Where does it lead to? Can I connect these dots and see the town and where am I gonna.

[00:19:25] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I think it's one of the things I've talked about on the podcast a lot, just the power of local knowledge as we're following the GPX files or following you guys' guides through Jer here.

You know, there's a lot of nuance, a lot of little trails that you can pop onto that would be easy to miss if you just sort of saw a heat map of the area. You might just choose the carriage way instead of the the nice trails. So it's really cool and important. I. To have guides that are local to kind of pick apart the best of the best for us to ride on.

[00:19:57] Rapha: Yeah, I mean this is what we do. We, this is what we do for fun. So on our time off whilst we do a lot of road riding for work on our time off, we want to go out there and ride gravel. And so this is why we get to know the places. We live around here and in the places that we research gravel all we're doing is just riding and riding and riding and then through.

Time, just knowledge. You build up tracks in your head and you wanna put that onto design and then maybe create a trip around it. Find a hotel, find a restaurant, the best restaurants, best hotels to stay and yeah, it's awesome.

[00:20:30] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I feel that way. Whenever anybody comes to Marin County, I just wanna show them the best of the best and not the most obvious trails, but the, the ones only the locals know.

Yeah.

[00:20:41] Rapha: You, you wanna share it? I mean, it's, its more fun riding a gravel. It's more fun with people, friends and random people that you meet up on

[00:20:48] Craig Dalton: trails as well. Yeah. When we were, when we first arrived during the week and you were giving an overview, you were talking about kind of the progression of roots that we'd be doing during the week.

I thought it was very interesting, like the thoughtfulness in, in how you guys conceived of the roots and the, the relative challenges, whether they be distance or technic. Can you talk about, you know, if someone's come coming into one of the spring trips for the Trek Travel Corona gravel tour, what would how would you describe it?

[00:21:16] Rapha: Well, so, well, there was no brief in the beginning, so actually when we rode this, For the research we rode 500 kilometers in five days and it looked like a picture of a lung with all the trees of just dead ends. But once we put it all together, we decided to, okay. Day one is a bit of an introduction.

Let's get you used to the surfaces, the mixed surfaces, but we're gonna keep it flat. And on the second day we're gonna add on a little bit of distance just to make sure you have endurance for grab, because it's a lot of work. You know, you're doing a lot of cadence. Mind work as well, trying to figure out what's coming up.

And then day three we add technicality. Now we're having multi services, soft sand, big rocks, technical climbs, and technical descents, which, you know, your wheels dig in, you gotta react to it. And then we put all of that together for the fourth day where you. Pick up all the skills you've had and we put it all in a fourth day for you to enjoy.

Yeah. Right

[00:22:11] Craig Dalton: on. And can you talk about the bikes that people are offered for this

[00:22:15] Rapha: trip? Okay. For this trip, we are currently running Damani 2019 s SL seven. So it has gravel wheels on it for 35 millimeter. And it's just fun. That's what it is. So it's, it's not an all out gravel. It tests your limits on this ride and you get electronic shifting.

So when you really need that gear on those technical climbs, you're gonna get it. Of course you're gonna prepare for it, but you're gonna get, get the gears. Yeah. When

[00:22:39] Craig Dalton: I first saw that, that was the bike spec, I mean, it almost immediately had me thinking of more the trails that we took out to the coast when the carriageway, the, the, you know, the reclaimed rail line.

Right. But at the end of the day, like now, four days into this, You're pushing the limits of these bikes and it's been a hell of a lot of fun. I mean, it, I really do think it's one of, it is kind of a perfect bike for this situation because it did everything you needed to do if you were ever on the road, it felt snappy and lively and it could withstand some of the abuse we were putting it through today.

[00:23:11] Rapha: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, these, these can do rock gardens and slick rock on, on good terrain. Good. These bikes are perfect around your owner. Of course, you know, you can always go wider. You can get flat bars and you go, world is your oyster. When it comes to gravel. I mean, you ask anybody what is gravel to you and they'll give you a million answers depending on who you're talking to.

So every, everyone's got their preferences, and next year, you know, who knows? We have Wider checkpoints next year and it's it's gonna cater up to 50 mil tires and it's gonna be amazing. So we have sneak preview, we have a few in the warehouse at the moment in, and we can't wait for next

[00:23:48] Craig Dalton: year at a checkpoint.

Yeah, I think it, I mean, the checkpoint's obviously like gonna be a little bit more versatile and you can imagine the opportunity if you have a rider on day one that's seeming a little nervous. Maybe you spec it with a 40 to begin with and maybe you swap out the wheels and maybe you put him or her on 50 millimeters just to give them additional comfort.

And who knows, maybe it's even for day four, we put you on 50 millimeters cuz we know it's gonna be kind of more challenging, technically speaking.

[00:24:17] Rapha: Yeah, I mean, absolutely. We're gonna, as guides, you know, we're gonna test write these. We have a few in now and we're gonna have fun and check it out. So to checkpoint with all this capabil.

It's gonna be more forgiving and hopefully you'll get more people coming in and not be so scared about gravel and check it out and try, try something different from

[00:24:37] Craig Dalton: road riding. Yeah, for sure. As someone who didn't grow up in gerona, what have been some of your favorite things that you've discovered in town?

[00:24:43] Rapha: Oh, you know what? Last night was probably one of the best nights ever because it was random. Mickey invited me down to the cast Telluride, and we did a Night Gravel, which is absolutely epic. Like, it's add just a different layer of difficulty, not seeing too far around and the group dynamic and you know, getting to know people and.

Absolute blast.

[00:25:04] Craig Dalton: Yeah, we were more than a little jealous that we didn't have lights with us and our legs were probably cooked enough that we shouldn't go for another eye, but we probably would've been excited to do so. Craig, maybe next time we're gonna invite you around. Exactly. Outside of Jer, since you've done Trek travel trips in a bunch of different places, what would be like one other trip that you'd recommend?

Gravel or road? Either way. Oh, that's,

[00:25:26] Rapha: it's like choosing between your children really. Like I adore all the trips and, but for me, this. The classic climb of the Alps. It's so stunning. It's beautiful and it's challenging. That's one of my favorite trips. And what,

[00:25:39] Craig Dalton: what classic climbs, if you can recall, some of 'em are on that

[00:25:43] Rapha: trip.

Yeah. Yeah. So I mean, we start in a place LA Luce and the first ride you're doing quarter cord Qure. Okay. And, sorry, my mistake. Yeah. Qure. And it's a, it's a first. Already you're getting like 1500 meters of elevation in a 55 kilometer ride. So it's just day one and you're already getting straight up, okay, we're here to climb and we're gonna go all out the whole week.

Nice. Of course, we, we do the epic outdoors at the end trip, sort of the icing of the cake and so that's the last climb of the,

[00:26:20] Craig Dalton: of the trip. Yeah. It's certainly nice for anybody who's been watching the tour to come over and knock off any one of those climbs that are bucket list.

[00:26:27] Rapha: Yeah, it is, it is a backless trip.

I was fortunate, fortunate enough to climb outdoors on the TDF day in 2022, and the atmosphere there is unbelievable. Just the, the crowd cheering you on it, it just gives you an extra beat and you are just hammering up the hill just because of the people cheering you on. It's absolutely epic. And then of course you get more quieter climbs.

So Wears is a great climb, but like Holyland. It's not celebrated enough for just Serenity, and it's, it's still challenging. It's 21 kilometers and but it's a good, it's a good time. Yeah. It's underrated my opinion. Amazing. My favorite call.

[00:27:05] Craig Dalton: Awesome. I love your passion for it, . Thank you. Cool. And I, again, I wanted to thank you for all your help this week.

It's been great getting to know you and riding with you. If it's, if it's unclear in anything we've said before, Each day we've had one of these guys riding with us and so one person's in the van and we've got one person on a bike with us. So we've had good camaraderie and lots of miles to get to know one another.

So thanks again for everything

[00:27:28] Rapha: this week. Thank you to, to you guys. Cause without you we wouldn't be here. And it's an absolute pleasure to be guiding you around here and it's so fun just doing own gravel. Cheers. Thank you.

Miqui

[00:27:38] Craig Dalton: All right, sir, can I get your name and what you do for truck travel?

[00:27:42] Miqui: Yeah, so my name is Mickey Mic Reta, and I'm one of the guides of the truck travel ju gravel.

[00:27:50] Craig Dalton: And not only are you one of the guides, you're a local here

[00:27:52] Miqui: in Gerran. Yeah, I'm local. I'm born and raised in Gerran and I'm very happy to have you guys here in Gerona.

Let's,

let's

[00:28:01] Craig Dalton: actually start with that. You've been in Gerona your whole life as you just. What's it been like growing up here? How has the town changed and as cycling has become more of a hub, how has it been infused into Gerona culture?

[00:28:14] Miqui: So I would say cycling has always been a part of Ger. I remember as a kid going to a bunch of mountain bike races with my brother, probably.

I did my mountain bike race, my first one when I was like six years old. And then, After that, it's just, it's been growing like crazy and I remember probably about eight years ago as one, it just went insane. Like all the pros started moving here and somehow it created a community that is just like a magnet for all the cyclists anywhere in the world up until the point that now I would say Juran is the cycling capital of the.

[00:28:55] Craig Dalton: What is it about the roads and trails around here that you think attracted them people to gerona? Obviously, you've given us a great sample these five days of what the gravel has been like, and it's been spectacular. We've touched on some of these roads. I'd just like to hear in your words, why do you think everybody's coming here?

[00:29:14] Miqui: So I would say Jona has everything you are looking for in. Or anything related to cycling? The weather is good all year round. It's true we have a rainy season, which lasts for a couple weeks or a month. We have a very few weeks in summer, which is very hot in very few weeks in winter, which is very cold.

But the rest of the year is incredible. It has an. Endless options of road riding. If you wanna ride to the peer, you can, it's a long ride, but you can actually do it if you wanna ride from ju to the coast and do a nice short loop, short-ish you can do it if, yeah, I would say in ju you could be riding for almost a month and you would never repeat a single ride.

[00:29:58] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I believe it. I mean, just from sampling it for this week. Yeah, for sure. And I mean, I think it's great that you've. Flat options. You've got hilly options. I think today we were up on kind of the local climb you would probably do after

[00:30:12] Miqui: work. Yeah. You guys were up on Los Angeleses, which. I feel like it's just incredible to have a climb like that starting at three kilometers from the center of Una and yeah, it's, it's a long climb.

It's about 10 kilometers and on top you get views of the purines. You get views of the ocean, well, the sea. Yeah. I feel like we are very lucky

[00:30:33] Craig Dalton: in here. Yeah. Yeah. I feel like it's like probably one of those climbs that every local athlete knows their exact time to the top. Yeah.

[00:30:41] Miqui: I would say that.

People's fitness, you always ask, what's their time of Los Angeles ?

[00:30:47] Craig Dalton: Yeah. That'll tell you if you're a compatible rider with them. So let's talk about the, the Trek Jer Gravel tour. I think you had a hand in a lot of the mapping, being a local and figuring out all the roots. How did you go about kind of, I always say whether it's an event organizer or a tour, it's almost like a love letter to your community and your trails, right?

You're. You've got guests coming in from out of the country or out of the area and you wanna show them the best of the best. How did you go about thinking about the, the trails and roads we were

[00:31:17] Miqui: on? The thing about this trip is that I had, I had to think that I couldn't make it super intense cuz sometimes we are taking guests at not super experienced on, on gravel riding or they just come from the.

So I couldn't make a trip very technical, but as you guys saw, we have a few avid options after the look we do every day, which are a little more technical. But yeah, I feel like I, I was really happy when they actually said, Hey Mickey, do you want to give us a hand with this trip? Because, It's Una, I'm, I'm, that's where I started riding and I love grow riding, so actually my favorite ride of the trip is the one where we go to the coast.

So we start in Una. It's super flat. We actually did on an incredible day. It was super sunny and we stop at the at the sea and yeah, we have lunch by the sea. Then after you guys went for a little swim and then we brought back to Una, we tried to stop at the brewer, which was unfortunately close that day.

But yeah, I just think it's, I was very happy when Trek Travel said, Hey, do you wanna give us a

[00:32:23] Craig Dalton: hand on this? Yeah. It's interesting. I think it's, it's sort of, you know, I imagine Trek travel draws a lot of road athletes Yeah. Onto their trips. So I think it is very approachable, but definitely had moments where you needed some skill.

Not, you know, I think for more experienced gravel riders, riders, there was, there was no fear. It was just fun and exhilaration. But for a couple of the newer rider, When they were going down the looser descents, they were probably a little bit scared but exhilarated when they got to the bottom. Yeah.

[00:32:54] Miqui: I don't think it's, it's nothing crazy.

We haven't put anything on this trip, which would be like dangerous or scary for like total beginners. We've had intellectual, we, we classify rider in four levels, four being the, the most expert. And we've had people on this trip, they're like level twos and they've. They've loved the descents, they love the writing.

Yeah. I think it's, it's got a great balance of hardcore and not hardcore, so. Yeah.

[00:33:23] Craig Dalton: Yeah, it's super interesting. I mean, we, we sort of weave through the farmlands and into little villages, and it's been a real pleasure to kind of pop out of some woods and go through some, you know, 17th century sanctuary buildings and then back out onto some trails.

It's, it's super fun. So,

[00:33:39] Miqui: and that's the thing about Juran, right? So everyone, Toronto is for road cycling, but as a local, I'm a hundred percent sure that there is actually a lot more gravel riding than there is road riding in Toronto. Yeah, I

[00:33:56] Craig Dalton: believe you. I mean, I think within four kilometers of town every day we've been on the dirt.

Yeah.

[00:34:01] Miqui: The extension of like farm roads and Yeah, just unpaved roads. I mean, I'm not talking about single track, I'm just talking. Real, what I like to call the real gravel, which is smooth and fast.

[00:34:15] Craig Dalton: Yeah. You were telling me about that railroad line that used to go from the Yeah. The sea to the purities, and now it's all a gravel road.

Yeah,

[00:34:23] Miqui: so I would say it's about 50 years ago when they removed the, the train line, the, well, the railway, which there was a train that went from sun follow g. Which is one of the towns on the coast. And then it run all the way up to Ola and now yeah, they just remove the whole railway and they lay gravel on it and it's just an incredible, it's, it's actually a bike path, so on the weekend it's gonna be full of kids on bikes and yeah, the extension to the Villa Verde, which that it's included on the Villa Verde, is just incredible.

How

[00:35:02] Craig Dalton: many kilometers do you think that that trail. It's over a hundred kilometers. That's amazing. I mean, to be able to cruise, I mean, and relatively flat presumably, until it gets to the purity side. Yeah. It's

[00:35:14] Miqui: totally flat. But since a train used to Yeah. Be on it, so they made sure it was super flat

[00:35:20] Craig Dalton: for it.

Yeah. Miles and miles and miles. Going back to the community in Ger, what are some of your favorite kind of, if a cyclist is coming to town, what are some of the go-to businesses they should

[00:35:30] Miqui: visit? So if a cyclist comes in, ger, I would say most people, they would come here for about at least a week. So you're gonna have time to visit all of them, which they are all a hundred percent worth visiting.

But there is a couple of places. You should a hundred percent go see if you're here for a short period of time. One of them being a coffee shop called La Fabrica, which it's only open in the mornings and lunch, so it's, it's the perfect place to brunch. Yeah.

[00:36:05] Craig Dalton: Quick aside, I literally ran into someone I know, know from the United States today, and they told us to go have brunch at

[00:36:13] Miqui: Left Africa Till Africa is owned by Christian Mayer and Amber Mayer.

He was, well, he's a, he's a former, Yeah, they were the pioneers in Una, so they were the first ones to open a coffee shop, only focused for cyclist, of course, for everyone. And now it has become like a super great, like it's, it's a tourist attraction right now, but that's what kind of triggered the whole cycling movement in Joran.

Okay.

[00:36:41] Craig Dalton: So La Africa, and what's the

[00:36:42] Miqui: second one? La Africa. They also have another coffee shop, which is only for. Which LA Fabric is more like brunch and food. The other coffee shop is called Espresso Mafia, which is one meal walking from La Fabrica, and that's basically where Christian roast the coffee and then you can drink it at Espresso Mafia.

And then another place you should go visit in general, well, mid January. Trek and track travel. It's opening the first track store in the world, which is gonna have truck travel inside of it. And with a rental fleet, we are going to be the biggest, as in space, we're gonna have the biggest bike shop in ju, which it's pretty exciting.

[00:37:29] Craig Dalton: Yeah, that's really exciting. And then finally, what's one sort of cultural place within Jerron that a tourist should visit?

[00:37:36] Miqui: The whole old town itself. If you go to Juna, I highly recommend getting a walking tour of the Old Town because you're really gonna see what our culture is here and how it was in the past.

And everything around the old town is just, it's just incredible.

[00:37:55] Craig Dalton: Yeah. That's fun. You recommended we go up onto the wall for sunset. Yeah. And we've, we missed it the first night. The second night we, we made it up. We may have had to like randomly climb over a fence to make it there in time because we couldn't find the way up.

But we got there and it was spectacular with view. Is that the purities that you're looking at out there? Yeah. You

[00:38:14] Miqui: get to see Purees, you get to see a bunch of things and yeah, there is a restaurant called Aro. Which is in one of the steps. Well, there's like, Juna has 200 million cathedrals, but in one of them.

On the stairs there is a restaurant called , which they actually film Game of Thrones there. And the terrace of the restaurant, it's actually on a little like flat section it has on those stairs. And I think it's a really cool location.

[00:38:45] Craig Dalton: That's super. Cool. Well, thank you so much for coming on. Thank you so much for all the hospitality this week.

It's been great to getting to know you and the local terrain

[00:38:55] Miqui: here. Yeah. Thank you guys for coming.

Girona Cycling Friends

[00:38:57] Andrew - RocaCorba: All right. Can I let me get your name and let me know where we're at. What's this beautiful place? So my name is Edward Green. I'm the guest, the general manager slash I don't know what, at Rocka Culpa cycling. So we are a cycling tourism business just outside of Jer Corona in a town called Bans. We are based on a 17th century Catalan estate, or Maia as it is in Catalan.

And we are basically trying to be a boutique hotel with some villas attached, which is exclusively for cyclists, road, gravel, mountain. Whatever you enjoy on two wheels is, is what we wanna do. And how far away from Ger are we? So we are currently 18 kilometers from Gerona, or 10 or 11 miles depending.

Country. And about a 30 to 45 minute ride depending on, on how you get to us. Can you describe where we are in, in the villa right now? So we're downstairs basically in what used to be the old like area for the animals. So we've got some troughs around us, but we've done huge renovations to basically create our cycling dungeon down here.

So we've got beautiful old vaulted Catalan ceiling. Rustic concrete floors, beautiful stone work, and then cycling history all around us with some beautiful frames. Cycling jerseys. Good coffee from the rocket espresso machine. Everything you can need for a good cycling stay. And what time of year is best to come here?

Pretty much all, all year. To be honest. I don't think there's necessarily a bad month anymore, like December and Januarys tends to be quite quiet, but we see strong gravel riding in October, November, and the rest of the year is a lot of road riding. Summer is quite warm, so unless you like waking up early, probably avoid summer a little bit.

But like June and September, October, probably buffer the. I'll note when you said strong gravel riding, you looked right at exactly a hundred percent. You are the epitome of what we see in November. . Tell us a little bit about the rest of the. So we are on 37 hectares and it's basically an old, what was an old family estate of the Campier family.

The estate dates back to the 17th century, so 1673, and it was with the same family until 2018 when we took it over to create. What we want to create is basically cycling paradise all you need in one place. Out in the countryside, but close to Gerrin. And how many rooms do you have available here? So currently we're at eight rooms, but we'll be at 13 by April next year.

So we're currently in the process literally starting today, which is very exciting of putting in five beautiful unsweet rooms in this main can poly manor house, partially they'll have views over down towards the lake onto some vineyards, but also into the courtyard and just generally over the rolling hills of, of Jerome.

And tell us a little bit about the village. So just on our doorstep, we have the town of Olas which has a beautiful lake in it. It's where they had the rowing for the 92 Barcelona Olympic. It's a great place for like active people, for families, et cetera. But there's a lot of rowing. A lot of of the British university teams come out and train here.

A lot of the national teams come and train as well, but generally just a fantastic place to be. Good quality of life and just down to earth and authentic. Amazing. And how do people find out about staying here? So if you have a look on Rocka coba cycling.cc, you'll find us and you can kind of do anything from there.

Or if you are enjoy climbing, just Google Rocka Coba, you'll find the climb, and then you'll find us and the clothing. Amazing. Thank you. Perfect. That was great.

[00:42:14] Oscar - Castilli: Okay. Can I get your name? Hi, my name is Oscar. And Oscar. Where are we standing today? Well, today we are in the, the first flag shipper store in the, in the war from Costelli here in Una. And what's the plan for the store? What are you trying to do with the community here? Well, una, you know, is the Jamaica for for European cyclists, I think all over the world.

So, right now Castelli store, it's coming to. The big cycling club in Giona and well, why not in Spain? Nice. And we, we rolled by here last night and there was a big group ride going out on the gravel. Yeah. We have almost 40 people doing the full moon ride. It was amazing. So always we keep a surprise for all the riders.

We stop in a food truck in the middle of the forest with fire. Some dinner and and beer. So it was super fun. That's amazing. And if someone's coming to Jerone to, to visit, do you have a calendar of events that they can look at? Yeah, they can, they can follow us on our Instagram and yeah, you can check.

So, but every week we have a ride, so, and 2023, especially now it's coming a low season for the weather, but from February. So it's coming. A lot of events. Yeah. Amazing. Thanks Oscar, and congratulations on opening the new Castelli store. Yeah, big pleasure. Thanks for coming.

[00:43:30] Mattias - Rococorba Clothing: All right. Right. Can you tell me your name and your shop? Mattias from Roco, COBA Clothing, Giron Mattias. Tell us a little bit about the brand. Yeah, it's a brand. It started in 2017 in the top of the mountain of Roco Coba. It's a very famous climb here in Giron, and I decided to, to put a food truck up there and to start at the same time closing brand called Roca corba.

And yes, five years. Later. I just opened a new shop in GI selling all my stuff, selling online, gold wide, and really happy too. Have, what are some of the products that you sell? I sell Jersey t-shirts, shorts accessories, bags, Macs, beat ons. A lot of things sucks. Yeah. Amazing. These jerseys I see on the wall are beautiful, very colorful, very expressive.

What inspires you and the, the designs? Yeah. Yeah. Right now I have like more or less 50, 60 different designs and I inspir it from everywhere. My slogan is cycling apparel inspired by the rob because we have so many different landscapes or different places and always I, I have inspired inspiration in the.

In our region. Yeah. And when is the shop opening up? I hope next Thursday it will be open. Now it's ready and I have to do some things, little things, but next Thursday, big opening here in J in the center. Amazing. I'm excited. We got a preview. We are able to pick up some of your lovely clothing. You said you, you're available worldwide.

Where can people find you on the. Yeah, we can find in ro.com. We have online shop with all the products and we we ship worldwide. Amazing. Thank you. Thank you. Pleasure, .

[00:45:22] Craig Dalton: So that's going to do it for this first international version of the gravel ride podcast. I've been talking and dreaming about international gravel travel for some time. So I was super excited to have this opportunity with track travel. To explore Durona with their Gravel cycling tour. It was amazing trip. As I said before, I highly encourage you to check it out.

As Raffa mentioned. They're unveiling a whole new series of gravel adventures for 2023. So they're really leaning into this gravel travel concept. What I loved about it was that unlike a gravel event where you might be focused on. Simply one ride when you visit somewhere amazing. Here. We were able to focus on riding every single day and there was no one ride that we needed to save ourselves for to get across the finish line. It was really about.

Exploring as much as our legs could handle. I wasn't as fit as I had normally been when I've gone over to Europe in the, in the past, but it was still an amazing trip, still an amazing experience that I highly, highly recommend. If you're interested in connecting and learning more about the trip, please visit truck travel.com. If you're interested in pinging me, please visit the ridership's that's www.theridership.com. If you're able to support the show, please visit buy me a coffee.com/the gravel ride or ratings and reviews are hugely appreciated. Until next time here's to finding some dirt under your wheels

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